Monday, August 29, 2011

Precious Book Collage - and a Hurricane!

Hi everyone!
First, apologies for a week with no blog - we survived the hurricane but are still getting dried out. I came home around midnight to find my upstairs bedroom awash and water pouring through the chandy into the downstairs living room. Three out of eight skylights were leaking, water was dripping through the ceiling beside the front door, and three extremely worried dogs were glad to see me. As I walked in the door, the power went off. Great.
It took quite a while (in pitch blackness) to find a flashlight, trip over two dogs, light candles, and find out where the leak was coming from (the wall unit air conditioner). I started bailing, the rain beat against the house, the wind roared. (At times like this I find myself thinking that maybe it wouldn't be too awful to have another man in my life . . . but no, nevermind) As dawn broke, I was rigging a huge tarp over the air conditioner, placing buckets and trash cans under various leaks and covering furniture with more tarps. (I felt really stupid running around buying tarps and batteries with all the other panic-stricken, but am sure glad I did!) Then took an icy bath and went to work for another 12 hr shift. (I didn't wash my hair - just get over it!).
Long story short - the claim has been filed with State Farm, they haven't called back yet, the power came back on after 48 hours, and I have been unloading thawed food out of the freezer and fridge.

Onward and upward. I just finished on online class with Artful Gathering - "Boite et Petite Livret Vintage," with Nancy Maxwell James. It's a chunky collage book and a collage box to keep it in. It starts with painted canvas boards: I used kind of a creamy gray ivory paint.
Sorry, the lighting is not great! But you can get the idea. Then French post card paper and other papers were applied with matte gel.
More matte gel layered on top, then tags and lace.
These images are from Paper Whimsey. You buy the download, then print them out on photo paper. The lace is from my stash.
More matte gel on top. I decided to make a remembrance of my mom - she passed away three years ago. I scanned the photos and printed them out on photo paper.
 This is her wedding photo.
(It's still wet) Isn't she cute? She was 5 feet 2 inches and my dad 6 feet 3.
Mama and me!
Buttons, keys, etc, etc added!
Sitting on the dock at my grandparent's house on the lake.
I'll show you more next time. This is my first attempt at this. The Artful Gathering classes are great, and will be offered again next year.
Love, Linda

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Putting Up" Pears

Does anyone remember their grandmother canning the fruits of the harvest? Or eating sweet peaches in the middle of winter. We can have peaches year round now - BUT - those peaches at the market in the winter don't taste so good . . .

So, lets can some fresh fruit. You need a canner:
Some utensils: Jar lifter, measuring cups, paring knife, bowl, and -
Jars with lids,
and sugar,
and, of course, Pears.
LOTS of pears.
First, fill the canner with water, it takes a long time to heat.
Put the lids in a pan and heat to simmer.
That sterilizes the lids. To sterilize the jars, put them in the canner (when the water gets hot and simmering) for about 10 minutes, then put them on a clean towel. Don't burn yourself!
Then make a sugar syrup and heat it to simmer. Now, and only now, peel, core and slice the pears. Keep them from turning with lemon juice or Fruit Fresh.
Put the pears in the syrup (all at once) and cook for ten minutes.
(NOTE: If you don't use a deep enough pan, the sugar syrup will boil over and cause a fire on the top of the stove. When this happens, snatch the lid of the canner off and drop it over the fire, smothering it.Turn off the burners. Turn on stove fan. Open windows and front door. Then spend 1-1/4 hours scraping soot and hardened, sticky syrup off the stove top. Start over.)

Where were we? OK. Fill jars. Add lids and screw rings.
Pop 'em in the canner. Don't burn yourself. See the steam??
The recipe will give the processing time. Take them out.
Don't burn yourself!
You will hear them pop as they seal. Cool for 12 hours, then press on the tops.
If they don't move or click, they have sealed. Line them up all pretty
on your shelves. Think about how yummy they will be in January!
I made spiced peach jam today too. I'll tell you about that sometime.
Love, Linda

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Sewing - for Fall

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date."  - Wm Shakespeare

I've been busy sewing fall things - too late, really. I should be deep in Christmas sewing. I also plan to can pears, make peach jam and paint the house. Summer is going toooooo fast!!

New fall things just listed on Etsy:

A very full skirt - and a matching top
I loved this fabric. Its called Farm Stand, so I made a reversible skirt -
 two skirts in one!
When you reverse it . . .
the other side!
Then some bonnets:
Whoops, that was Marley D.
Here's the bonnets:
Enough Farm Stand, here's a twirly top and matching pants
 - perfect for back to school.

Hi from Sunny!
Love, Linda

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Myth Creations by Dora

Hi everyone,
Today I would like to share the artistry of my friend, Dora Siemel. She is a sculptor working in ceramics, and her website "Myth Creations," can be found here.
I've known Dora for, well, let's just say many years. During my visit to her studio last week, she kindly allowed me to photograph two of her latest creations. The first one is called "Chicomecoati, Aztec Goddess of Fertility and Patron of Artists."
Dora kiln fires all her creations herself, and adds additional embellishments after firing. She is using a new medium called "freeform crochet" which I'm sure will interest all you textile artists. She describes the process as "just starting without a pattern and creating new forms without thinking about it." You will see the freeform crochet on this piece.
Above, use of crochet and feathers for ear ornaments.
Below, the headdress.
The second piece is still in progress, but she agreed to let me photograph it. Dora is famous for her horse head sculptures. This one is entitled: "A Steed as Dark as Erebus, With Rainbow Tatters in His Mane."
Isn't he beautiful??
He truly has a "rainbow mane." I hope you have enjoyed seeing a different kind of artistry.
 For a list of shows and contact information, please see Dora's website link.
Love, Linda

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tea Party! with Recipes

I had a tea party yesterday - and promised to share some recipes.
First thing is to set the table . . . and make some herby centerpieces. Coleus and potato vine, asparagus fern, sage, and some of the herbs I didn't put in the food - parsley, basil and rosemary.
Table is all set!
Le Menu:
Chilled Peach Champagne Soup
Salmon Mousse Hearts
Cucumber Herbed Cream Cheese
Tomato and Aged Cheddar
Shrimp Salad
Raspberry Scones with Raspberry Cream Cheese
Fudgy Brownies with Praline Topping
Tea Assortment
Food preparation - champagne for the soup - and the cook!

Peach Champagne Soup
5 Local Ripe Peaches, peeled and stones removed
Superfine sugar to taste, about 1/2 cup depending how sweet the peaches are.
Juice from 1/4 lemon
Put the 1st three items in the blended and puree. Store overnight in the refrigerator. Before serving, add 2 to 3 cups champagne. Stir together with a whisk and serve chilled.
Drink the rest of the champagne.

Fudgy Brownies with Praline Topping
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
4 squares bittersweet chocolate
4 squares semisweet chocolate
(eat the rest of the chocolate - it's good for you)
Get really good chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
5 eggs
5 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water
2 cups confectioners sugar.

Oven 350* Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan.
Mix flour and salt in a small bowl.
Melt butter and chocolates over low heat, stirring
frequently. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and
sugar. Add eggs, stir until well-mixed.
Stir in flour mixture and spread in prepared pan.
 Bake about 30 minutes.

Praline topping: Heat 5 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar over medium heat until mixturebubbles, about 5 minutes. With a wire whisk beat in 1 tablespoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons water. Stir in 2 cups confectioners sugar. Spread over cooled brownies.

Making the praline - and the finished brownies!
Salmon Mousse Hearts
, , , and the Raspberry Scones
I forgot a picture of the sandwiches - until they were all eaten! They looked nice on the white three-tier server though!
The guests:

I've set you a place! Love, Linda
"Make thee a box of rosemary, and smell to it, and it shall preserve thy youth."
Wm Shakespeare